Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James doesn’t mind LSU’s Ben Simmons being compared to him, James told reporters on Friday.
“Someone’s going to be compared to someone all the time, and I don’t mind him being compared to me,” James said before the Cavaliers’ game against the Pelicans. “People not only recognizing what he does on the floor, but he’s a great kid, too. He has a great family, great support system, and that’s why he’s able to do what he [does] on the floor.”
Simmons, who spent time with James over the summer at Nike Basketball Academy where James is an instructor, was in attendance for Friday’s game. The two have maintained their relationship.
“He gives me a lot of advice if I ever need it,” Simmons told ESPN. “He looks out for me, and he’s one of those people you have to have as a mentor because he’s one of the best players in the world.”
Simmons added that he tries to take aspects of James’s game to put into his own.
Simmons, a freshman, is averaging 19.9 points, 14.9 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.6 blocks through LSU’s first seven games of the season. On Wednesday, the 6'10" forward scored 43 points on 15-of-20 shooting with 14 rebounds, seven assists, five steals and three blocks. He shot 13 of 15 points from the line and made all 15 of his field goals from inside the paint. According to ESPN, Simmons became the only major-conference player in the past 20 years to post a 40-point, 10-rebound, five-assist five-steal line.